The subject of serial killers fascinates and intrigues everyone. From the ordinary person who is enthralled by their bloody exploits to the behavioral scientist who seeks to understand their bloody behavior a serial killer is guaranteed to get their attention. Most people are familiar with serial killers who are adults, but there are also young serial killers. In fact most adult serial killers started out as young serial killers.The recorded list of young killers in history is more or less recent since the date goes back to at least 1900. There are serial killers before that date but there is little or no record of serial killers being children. The youngest serial killer a girl named Mary Bell recorded is age 11 when she committed her very first murder.
Information about young female killers tend to be scant though there are records of female serial killers in more recent history. Mary Bell as mentioned above is one example. Note that while females can be serial killers the majority is mostly male and there is little or no record of them. One good example of a historical female serial killer is the Hungarian countess Elizabeth Bathroy.
5. William Heirens
Date of murders: June 1945 – January 1946
Number of Victims: 3
One can consider William Heirens to be one of young serial killers that tend to appear though at the time the word “serial killer” was not coined yet instead it was referred to as “stranger killings”. Heirens killed only 3 victims all women, but at the time it was considered horrific when compared to recent serial killings since the public was not used to this kind of killing which seems to be done just for the sake of killing. Heirens was caught and confessed to his crimes which earned him a lifelong sentence of prison. William Heirens died on March 5 2012 due to heart problems.
4. Willie Bosket
Date of murders: March 19/27 – 1978
Number of Victims: 3
If there is any indication that Willie Bosket would become a murderer and a serial killer is the fact that Willie was committing thousands of crimes while he was still a minor. It was only at the age of 16 that Willie Bosket committed his first murder and serial killing. Most of the killings committed by Bosket were done in New York’s subway. He and accomplice would kill and rob their victims. He was also a habitual law offender and he would be sentenced and incarcerated again and again. While young serial killers become adult serial killers Willie Bosket has never graduated from that level due to his imprisonment. He currently serves 25 years to life sentence in solitary confinement in Woodbourne Correctional Facility.
3. Edmund Kemper
Date of murders: 1964 – 1972 – 1973
Number of Victims: 10
As a child Edmund Kemper was very bright, but unfortunately he was psychopathic as evidenced by his cruelty to animals. He also showed disturbing behavior like bizarre sexual rituals and dark fantasies. This disturbing behavior alone should have been like warning that young Edmund was joining the lists of young serial killers. His first murder was that of his grandparents killing his grandmother first and his grandfather second. Kemper would continue to kill more people who were all female from May 1972 to April 1973. His modus operandi is to pick up his victims, take them to an isolated area where he would shoot, stab or smother them. Then he would take back their bodies to his apartment where he would rape their severed heads and dissect their bodies. His final victim would be his mother and her best friend. Currently he is an inmate of the California Medical Facility after he was tried and found not guilty due to insanity.
2. Jesse Pomeroy
Date of murders: March 18 – April 22, 1874
Number of Victims: 10+
Known as the “Boston Boy Fiend” Jesse Pomeroy started murdering at the age of 11 where he committee sexual torture to other boys. His killing wasn’t exclusive to boys since he was capable of killing girls. In was only in the year 1872 that was he arrested for his crimes and was sentenced to a reform school due to being a minor. Unfortunately he would commit more serial killings before he was caught in 1874 when the police suspected him of the killing of Horace Millen a 4 year boy and instead found the remains of his other victim a 10 year old girl named Katie Curran. Jesse Pomeroy was tried and sentenced to death but was destined for life imprisonment instead. Jesse Pomeroy has the distinction of being the youngest person (he was 16 when imprisoned) convicted of first degree murder in Massachusetts.
1. Mary Bell
Date of murders: May 25, 1968 – July 31, 1968
Number of Victims: 2
Like Jesse Pomeroy the also killed children who were the same age as she is. Like Jesse, Mary started killing her fellow children at the age of 11. She would later have a female accomplice her friend Norma Joyce Bell when she committed her second murder. When the two girls were caught and tried for their crimes Norma was acquitted by the court while Mary Bell was convicted. Mary would have been one of those young serial killers who would continue to kill as they grow older, but due to her incarceration she never got that far. At the age of 23 she was released and took on a new name when she was granted anonymity. Bell had a daughter after her release and as of 2007 it is reported that she is now a grandmother.
It can be very shocking to most people the idea that children or young people can become young serial killers. It is very important for us to apprehend these kinds of children before they managed to pile up the bodies and if possible reform them.